home           about           reviews           author insight           review policy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Author Insight: Books They Love

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally?

"One book? No, not one--but hundreds! I adore reading. I always have."- Elizabeth Scott, author of Grace.

"Yes." - Heidi Kling, author of Sea.

"I'd have to go with The Secret Garden.  It's the first book I read where I remember being absolutely fascinated by the story, the world, and the characters.  I finished it and immediately started reading it all over again." - Scott Tracey, author of Witch Eyes.

"There are quite a few books that have had an impact on my writing but one in particular is White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I read it before writing Shrinking Violet. It was so good and well written and gave me forward momentum to jump writing into my novel." - Danielle Joseph, author of Indigo Blues.

"I think The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper, made me want to be a writer. I can still recite the poem from the front of the book. The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton, made me feel how a book can rip your insides out. Emily Dickinson made me see each individual word as an act of conformity or rebellion. But the book that changed my life was One Writer’s Beginning, by Eudora Welty. She writes about community and family and being a daughter and an insider and an outsider—in a messy way that I could never articulate but always relate to. On our first tour, we went to her home in Jackson, Mississippi, and I bawled like a baby the whole way through." - Margaret Stohl, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Of course, there are many, but Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is definitely one.  It is the book that brought me to YA.  I love the voice, the structure, the writing, and most importantly, the honesty." - Swati Avashti, author of Split.

"Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses inspired me to both enrich all the senses in my descriptions and to sharpen my own experiences with the world. This led to some odd experiments sniffing lichens in the forest and finding out that they do indeed smell like grass or hay. You know, for scenes with werewolves running through forests. Ahem." - Karen Kincy, author of Other.

"Anytime someone asks this kind of question, I almost always give the same answer, so that must mean it's true: When I was fifteen, I read The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneos, and it made a huge impression on me.  I'd never read anything like it. It completely changed how I thought abut storytelling and influenced my writing style for years." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.

"I love Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Whenever I feel like my writing is lacking, I reread this book.  I love the voice and the beautiful yet simplistic writing.  I also love the story about a girl finding her voice." - Bree Despain, author of The Dark Divine.

"Perhaps not a single book, but a series. When I discovered the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, I knew I wanted to write scary stories for the rest of my life. To me, being scared by fiction is fun and I love all sorts of monsters. I loved that Stine could make anything scary—he even made a sponge scary." - Courtney Allison Moulton, author of Angelfire.

"One of my favorite books is The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. It really inspires me to keep going when I get in a funk. She talks through her own writing experiences in gorgeous prose that totally makes sense to me. I recommend it to all writers." - Diana Pharaoh Francis, author of Bitter Night.

"Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon.  I love this book because it is so real and funny and touching. It shows some of the craziness that many writers (me, for sure!) can experience in their writing lives.  Reading it has gotten me through some dark times." - Mindi Scott, author of Freefall.

"There are many books that do that. I think every time you read a book that hits you, it adds to your development as a writer. I learned about writing dialogue in character from reading the 'Anne' books, about writing unskippable instruction/training scenes from Christopher Pike, about adventure from Dumas, and so on and so forth. My favorite non-fiction writing book is How to Write Well, by William Zinsser." - Diana Peterfreund, author of Rampant.

" I guess I have to go with my usual answer of Rats Saw God.  (It's the book I always name, but I loved it.)  I think Rob Thomas is an excellent writer; he wrote in a very real way that made me connect to the main character, but even more than that, it was the themes of the book that really resonated with me. The realization that people you admire aren't always great people, that adults are all too human, and that growing up involves loss and hurt and mistakes that can't be made right.  And he managed to do that while still making me laugh---it never seemed like he was saying: and the moral of the story is..." - Anastasia Hopcus, author of Shadow Hills.

"There are so, so many. But I’ll throw out a not-so-popular one: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. It’s a 19th Century Scottish novel about a man who meets the devil in a field; I won’t say more, because I’d hate to spoil it for the 19th Century Scottish novel aficionados out there. Suffice it to say that the book raises more questions than it answers, and leaves it to the reader to decide what’s true and what isn’t, and what’s real and what isn’t. Yes, please." - Michelle Hodkin, author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

"I adore The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; the writing and point-of-view in that book are stunning. (It is, after all, narrated by Death!) I read it as slowly as I could to taste every word, the reader’s version of licking the plate clean.  No one in the beginning of the story is the same at the end of the book.  The playful word choices in such grim and stark settings, the tiniest details of worldwide events – it’s heart-wrenching." - Kristin Tubb, author of Selling Hope.

Come back Thursday to learn what books have impacted the rest of the authors!
<< Previous


  1. I like Heidi's response. Good going, Kling, good going! ;)

    How terribly sad though. I don't believe I've read any of those books mentioned! I want to get cracking on SPEAK though, as well as THE OUTSIDERS, THE BOOK THIEF . . . I will have to check out a few others, too.

  2. What a beautiful post, I absolutely love it! These little quotes are so lovely and so inspirational, and I admit, it's the one best thing I love about your gorgeous blog (besides the obviously stunning header) ^_^
    I love Elizabeth Scott's answer, and Heidi Kling and Scott Tracey! Hey Scott, I totally agree with you! Have you watched The Secret Garden movie?! It's absolutely magical!

  3. THE DARK IS RISING was my favorite series growing up. Anyone who loves those books gets two thumbs up from me!